As promised I’m updating on my experience of Ippudo Ramen again as I was invited or a media tasting yesterday. However, as you know I’m in Shanghai this week, so I got my fellow ramen lover Fui to sample on my behalf. Both of us had ate at Ippudo Singapore, and he was also with me during my first visit to Ippudo Ramen, Pavilion KL.
Here’s his verdict. I’m enjoying my la mian in Shanghai but I do crave for some Japanese ramen now! 😀
IPPUDO was founded in 1985 in Japan’s ramen capital of Hakata by Shigemi Kawahara, the internationally renowned Ramen King and CEO of Chikaranomoto Company, which encompasses some of Japan’s finest restaurants. There are over 65 stores in Japan, and globally in places such as New York, Sydney, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea and Shanghai.
IPPUDO is opening four new stores globally in February 2013 alone! Taiwan welcomed its second store, Hong Kong its fifth in the first two weeks of the month and Guangzhou after a week opening of IPPUDO Malaysia on the 21st of February.
The tasting menu yesterday featured 3 types of ramen which is the signature’s Shiromaru Motoaji, Akamaru Shinaji and Spicy Karaka-Men. Another 6 side dishes are the Goma Q, pork bun, fried young corn, curry cheese haru maki, spicy shrimp mayo and Hakata-style soup gyoza.
Fresh sliced kyuri with sesame dressing, topped with sesame seed and chili powder. This is fresh and crunchy while the sesame flavor doesn’t overwhelms.
Steamed bun with braised pork and IPPUDO’s original sauce. The bun is warm and soft while the braised pork can be fatty for personal liking (Yes, I had this on my first visit but I find it too fatty – Rebecca). Yet, it is quite good for me.
Fried Young Corn.
The garlic-flavored deep fried young corn has a soft and thin crust outside, and tasty seasoned with seaweed .
Curry Cheese Haru Maki.
The deep fried curry spring roll is moderately spicy with a hint of cheese flavor. This is served with homemade curry sauce.
Quote from the menu: Original recipe Tonkotsu broth served with Hakata-style ultra-thin noodles and topped with belly chashu, bean sprouts, kikurage and spring onions, cooked expertly to produce a smooth yet classic Hakata ramen.
The taste of the tonkotsu broth is slightly different with the Ippudo SG’s because local pork bones (and head) is used here. The recipe also created to suit the Malaysian’s tastebud. (Note from Rebecca: That’s why it tasted different when I had it during my first visit. I guess we were right when we guessed that the recipe was different).
Quote from the menu: The 25-year old recipe requires slow cooking over long hours to achieve a perfect emulsion of oil and liquid, creating a rich and flavorful Tonkotsu that enhances the essence of pork-bone topped with IPPUDO secret miso, garlic oil, belly chashu, kikurage, bean sprouts and spring onions.
Expectedly, the Akamaru is heavier on taste. The rich and enhanced Tonkotsu broth is served topped with a dollop of IPPUDO sercet miso, called Umami-dama literally means “flavour ball” and fragrant garlic oil. The Akamaru has more complexity of flavor and is more robust compared to Shiromaru Motoaji.
Quote from the menu: The Karaka Men features IPPUDO signature Tonkotsu broth and Hakata-style wavy noodles, topped with ground pork and our spicy Karaka miso for the spice that you crave!
The spicy Karaka-Men is my favorite among all. This is served with Hakata-style wavy noodles instead of ultra-thin straight noodle and added with Karaka miso ball. The spiciness level can be adjusted according to your personal liking. I love it so much since it came with very generous amount of ground pork, saving my money from ordering extra topping since it is more than enough.
Done with the ramen, we had a few more snacks before calling it a night.
Spicy Shrimp Mayo – lightly battered shrimp and deep-fried succulent prawns with homemade spicy mayonnaise dip. Unlike the normal tempura shrimp, this lightly battered shrimp has a softer crust.
Hakata-style Soup Gyoza. The gyoza is served with the original Tonkotsu soup, flavored with grated fresh ginger in a small hot stonepot. The saltiness of the gyoza complemented the bland and creamy Tonkotsu soup which was spiced up with some ginger. This would be ideal for those who do not want to have ramen (perhaps an unwilling diner with a bunch of ramen loving friends??) or would like to grab a light protein packed meal.
Here are some useful information from Fui from his interview with the Japanese chef. Thanks Fui for attending this review on my behalf. 🙂
* Ippudo Ramen Malaysia uses local pork bones (include pork head) for their broth.
* The flavored egg is Shio-tamago (not the usual nitamago). It is made to suit the broth here. They mentioned that different IPPUDO outlets can have different recipes that are tweaked to suit the local palate.
* Unlike IPPUDO SG, Ippudo Ramen Malaysia do not have a factory to make the broth and noodle. The broth is cooked here in Pavilion but the noodles are IMPORTED from Singapore. (Rebecca: No wonder the noodles tasted the same as the one I had in Sg, but broth was different!)
* No timer were used for the cooking of the noodle. A staff responsible for the noodle section ensures the noodle are cooked to the desired texture. The cooking time varies due to the noodle and the water temperature which can be change all the time. Tasting is done before serving.
Rebecca: Frankly, I don’t see a need to tweak the recipe to suit Malaysian tastebuds. In fact, I like the ramen I had in Ippudo Singapore just fine! I guess I’ll still visit Singapore for my Ippudo ramen fix. But I’ll still swing by Pavilion for Ippudo while I’m in KL.